September 15–21, 2002
MEMORY VERSE: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5.
SUGGESTED READING: Patriarchs and Prophets, 627–636.
INTRODUCTION: “Satan represents God’s law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts. The fall of our first parents, with all the woe that has resulted, he charges upon the Creator, leading men to look upon God as the author of sin, and suffering, and death. Jesus was to unveil this deception. As one of us He was to give an example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself our nature, and passed through our experiences. ‘In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren.’ Hebrews 2:17. If we had to bear anything which Jesus did not endure, then upon this point Satan would represent the power of God as insufficient for us. Therefore Jesus was ‘in all points tempted like as we are.’ Hebrews 4:15. He endured every trial to which we are subject. And He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us. As man, He met temptation, and overcame in the strength given Him from God. He says, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalm 40:8. As He went about doing good, and healing all who were afflicted by Satan, He made plain to men the character of God’s law and the nature of His service. His life testifies that it is possible for us also to obey the law of God.” The Desire of Ages, 24.
1 How important is obedience? Romans 6:16–18.
NOTE: “Obedience is not a mere outward compliance, but the service of love. The law of God is an expression of His very nature; it is an embodiment of the great principle of love, and hence is the foundation of His government in heaven and earth. If our hearts are renewed in the likeness of God, if the divine love is implanted in the soul, will not the law of God be carried out in the life? When the principle of love is implanted in the heart, when man is renewed after the image of Him that created him, the new-covenant promise is fulfilled, ‘I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.’ Hebrews 10:16. And if the law is written in the heart, will it not shape the life? Obedience—the service and allegiance of love—is the true sign of discipleship.” Steps to Christ, 60.
2 What kind of an example did Christ set for His followers? Philippians 2:8; 1 Peter 2:21–23.
NOTE: “In the precepts of His holy law, God has given a perfect rule of life; and He has declared that until the close of time this law, unchanged in a single jot or tittle, is to maintain its claim upon human beings. Christ came to magnify the law and make it honorable. He showed that it is based upon the broad foundation of love to God and love to man, and that obedience to its precepts comprises the whole duty of man. In His own life He gave an example of obedience to the law of God. In the Sermon on the Mount He showed how its requirements extend beyond the outward acts and take cognizance of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Acts of Apostles, 505.
3 What was the basic reason for Saul’s disobedience? 1 Samuel 15:23, 24. Compare John 12:42, 43.
NOTE: “Saul, after he had disobeyed the requirement of God to destroy the Amalekites, met Samuel, and said, ‘Blessed be thou of the Lord; I have performed the commandment of the Lord.’ And Samuel said, ‘What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?’ The answer was the same that we have heard in similar cases,—an excuse, a falsehood: ‘The people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God.’ Saul did not say my or our but thy God. Many who profess to be serving God are in the same position as Saul,—covering over ambitious projects, pride, or display, with a garment of pretended righteousness. The Lord’s cause is made a cloak to hide the deformity of injustice, but it makes the sin of tenfold greater enormity.” Pamphlet 028, 14.
4 Why do men take the liberty to do evil? Ecclesiastes 8:11.
NOTE: “The power of Satan, his arts and machinations,—who can know them? Those who, in defiance of all the warnings and entreaties of God’s Word, venture to indulge in sin are sleeping on the very brink of eternal ruin. Because God bears long with transgressors, of His law, because He sends them warnings and entreaties, because punishment does not immediately follow their evil deeds, they abuse His mercy and forbearance, and blindly rush on in a course of crime. When assailed by temptation, many have not moral strength to say, as did Joseph, ‘How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ They do not give a decided refusal to the first invitation to transgress the law of God, and soon unlawful indulgence becomes habitual, and they are ready to deny that it is a sin.” Signs of The Times, July 1, 1903.
5 Why was Moses not permitted to enter Canaan? Numbers 20:7–12.
NOTE: “‘The Lord was wroth with me for your sakes,” said Moses. The eyes of all Israel were upon Moses, and his sin cast a reflection upon God, who had chosen him as the leader of His people. The transgression was known to the whole congregation; and had it been passed by lightly, the impression would have been given that unbelief and impatience under great provocation might be excused in those in responsible positions. But when it was declared that because of that one sin Moses and Aaron were not to enter Canaan, the people knew that God is no respecter of persons, and that He will surely punish the transgressor.
“The history of Israel was to be placed on record for the instruction and warning of coming generations. Men of all future time must see the God of heaven as an impartial ruler, in no case justifying sin. But few realize the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Men flatter themselves that God is too good to punish the transgressor. But in the light of Bible history it is evident that God’s goodness and His love engage Him to deal with sin as an evil fatal to the peace and happiness of the universe.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 420.
6 Why did God destroy Nadab and Abihu? Leviticus 10:1, 2.
NOTE: “Both tobacco and liquor break down nerve force, and dull the finer perceptions, so that the slaves to these habits cannot discern between sacred and common things. An example of the demoralizing effect of intoxicants is seen in the case of Nadab and Abihu. They ventured to partake of wine before they entered the tabernacle to perform the duties of their sacred office, and the result was, they could not distinguish between common fire and that which was consecrated to the holy service. For this breach of trust they were slain. Some will say, ‘If they were intoxicated, and could not discern the difference between these fires, why should they be punished?’ When they placed the cup to their lips, they made themselves responsible for all their deeds committed while under its influence.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 18, 19.
7 What was the result of Uzzah’s failure to honor the sacredness of the ark? 1 Chronicles 13:9, 10.
NOTE: “The fate of Uzzah was a divine judgment upon the violation of a most explicit command. Through Moses the Lord had given special instruction concerning the transportation of the ark. None but the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were to touch it, or even to look upon it uncovered. . . .” Conflict and Courage, 176.
8 What is the importance of obedience in contrast to forms and ceremonies? Psalm 40:6; 1 Samuel 15:22, 23, first half.
NOTE: “The gospel of good news was not to be interpreted as allowing men to live in continued rebellion against God by transgressing His just and holy law. Why cannot those who claim to understand the Scriptures, see that God’s requirement under grace is just the same He made in Eden,—perfect obedience to his law. In the Judgment, God will ask those who profess to be Christians, Why did you claim to believe in My Son, and continue to transgress my law? Who required this at your hands—to trample upon my rules of righteousness? ‘Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.’ The gospel of the New Testament is not the Old Testament standard lowered to meet the sinner and save him in his sins. God requires of all his subjects obedience, entire obedience to all his commandments. He demands now as ever perfect righteousness as the only title to heaven.” Review and Herald, September 21, 1886.
9 How important is it to hear the voice of God? Isaiah 30:21; Matthew 11:15; John 10:27.
NOTE: “All who are under the training of God need the quiet hour for communion with their own hearts, with nature, and with God. In them is to be revealed a life that is not in harmony with the world, its customs, or its practices; and they need to have a personal experience in obtaining a knowledge of the will of God. We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God. He bids us, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ Psalm 46:10. This is the effectual preparation for all labor for God. Amidst the hurrying throng, and the strain of life’s intense activities, he who is thus refreshed will be surrounded with an atmosphere of light and peace. He will receive a new endowment of both physical and mental strength. His life will breathe out a fragrance, and will reveal a divine power that will reach men’s hearts.” The Ministry of Healing, 58.
10 How is true obedience to be demonstrated? Psalm 40:8.
NOTE: “The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love—service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 34.
11 How are we to regard the law of God? Psalm 119:97; Romans 7:22. Compare Hebrews 8:10.
NOTE: “In the precepts of His holy law, God has given a perfect rule of life; and He has declared that until the close of time this law, unchanged in a single jot or tittle, is to maintain its claim upon human beings. Christ came to magnify the law and make it honorable. He showed that it is based upon the broad foundation of love to God and love to man, and that obedience to its precepts comprises the whole duty of man. In His own life He gave an example of obedience to the law of God. In the Sermon on the Mount He showed how its requirements extend beyond the outward acts and take cognizance of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Acts of the Apostles, 505.
12 What promises are given to the obedient? Isaiah 1:19; Revelation 22:14.
NOTE: “We cannot overestimate the value of simple faith and unquestioning obedience. It is by following in the path of obedience in simple faith that the character obtains perfection (MS 5a, 1895).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1137.
“The redeemed saints, who have loved God and kept His commandments here, will enter in through the gates of the city, and have right to the tree of life. They will eat freely of it as our first parents did before their fall. The leaves of that immortal widespread tree will be for the healing of the nations. All their woes will then be gone. Sickness, sorrow, and death they will never again feel, for the leaves of the tree of life have healed them. Jesus will then see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied, when the redeemed, who have been subject to sorrow, toil, and afflictions, who have groaned beneath the curse, are gathered up around that tree of life to eat of its immortal fruit, that our first parents forfeited all right to, by breaking God’s commands. There will be no danger of their ever losing right to the tree of life again, for he that tempted our first parents to sin will be destroyed by the second death.” My Life Today, 355.